Gov’t faulted over lack of oil law

With Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh

Dr. Oteng Adjei, Minister for Energy

Ghana’s Jubilee Oil is on sale on the international market. Unfortunately, the laws that are to govern the oil and gas industry have not yet been passed by parliament.

The main bill, the Exploration and Petroleum Bill (E&P) has been withdrawn for further consultation, while the PNDC law 64 and 84 respectively does not make provision for areas like spillage of oil or oil mud in Ghana’s waters.

To this end, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) has pressured government to pass the oil bill into law, and also amend the PNDC law 64 and 84 respectively, to take care of oil spillage or oil mud in the country’s waters.

Speaking at the 12th series of “How CPP Will Do It”, the party’s programme of presenting alternative policy visions on key areas of governance, the Spokesperson on Energy of the CPP, Mr. Kwame Jantuah observed that the oil and gas resources bring to Ghana many varied challenges, which if not handled and managed properly, can spell doom for the nation’s development.

He added that “there seems to be a fine thread running through the difficult challenges when it comes to managing the oil resources in developing countries, as Ghana start to see replicas of these examples in our fledging oil industry”.

The dilemma we have, before the revenue from this oil resource is generated, is that we face considerable challenges in our dealings with international corporations, which have great interest and expertise in the sector, and have extraordinary resources from which to draw from, Mr. Jantuah stressed.

According to him, “since oil and gas is both capital  and increasingly technologically  intensive, extraction requires cooperation among players, government and the International Operating Companies (IOCs) which are mostly private sector, and this can produce the unusual situation in which the buyer actually knows more about the value of the goods sold.

The fear is that in such instances, IOCs can be very strong in their bargaining positions relative to governments and the challenge for us as a developing country that lacks the capacity in understanding the industry in this initial stage is how to find ways to contract with these IOCs in a manner that also gives us a fair deal, a case in point being the Kosmos/Exxon Mobil saga”.

Ghana made it known to the entire world that we had a no gas flaring policy, although it was well documented that it was not possible to construct a gas plant to process gas within 18 months, Mr. Jantuah pointed out.

The CPP finds it unfortunate with the state of the gas infrastructure, as according to the Chairman of the Gas Task force we would have to flare Gas for a period of 18–24 months. This is a wasted opportunity and government should find alternative ways of capturing this lost resource because there are ways of doing this till the Gas plant is set up.

On the recent hikes in petroleum products, the CPP Spokesperson indicated that it was time government should stop passing the buck of the burden anytime there are increases in world market prices of petroleum products.

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